Hill, Norman & Beard Organ 1952

Whiteley's organs were known more for their tonal quality than for the quality and reliability of their actions. As the Whiteley organ became more unreliable and unplayable, the neglected Hill organ began to be used again.

By 1948, only part of the Whiteley organ was playable so the newly appointed Organist and Master of the Choristors, Hugh Bancroft received a quote in 1949 from Hill, Norman and Beard Ltd for rebuilding and combining the Hill and Whiteley organs. The quote was accepted and the work was completed in 1952 with the English organist Sir George Thalben-Ball giving the opening recital.

The two organs were connected with electro-pneumatic action to a new four manual console located some distance away behind the choir.

The Whiteley organ loft was removed and the pipework placed back in the north transept to balance the Hill organ in the south transept. Some of the pipework was discarded, some was transplanted between the two organs and some new pipework was added.

At this time the pitch of the Hill was altered to match the Whiteley. This has changed the original Hill voicing.

The Whiteley console went to St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Bendigo where it has only recently been replaced. Bendigo also received the thirteen original 16' Hill facade pipes.

The Organ had four manuals, 77 speaking stops, 22 couplers, 83 ranks and almost 4,700 pipes. In 1984, Pitchford and Garside installed a digital capture system with six independent levels of lockable memory. This enabled each 'resident' organist to have their own channel and visiting recitalists to have two channels. Another unique feature was the ability to set completely independent pedal combinations on every Swell, Great and Choir thumb piston by the means of special couplers. This feature has been retained in the new Letorneau organ.

Live recordings can be downloaded as an mp3 file by clicking on the links below.

"Christmas Cradle Song" by Alfred Hollins (5.5MB) played by Mark Quarmby

"Chorale Improvisation on In Dulci Jubilo" by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (9.8MB) played by Mark Quarmby

(both recorded on the Hill, Norman & Beard St Andrew's Cathedral organ in 1994).

The specification of the rebuilt and combined organ was as follows:

The Hill organ without the Violon pipes